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Independent Researcher & Writer
Independent Designer

Date & Time

Sunday Sun, 5 Mar 2023


Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

The dawn of literary modernity and linguistic movements in the early 20th century brought Indian scripts and languages to the forefront of the national question. A national script had to be standardized, uniform, legible, and easy to print and circulate. The printing process and needs of a modern language had to be balanced with centuries of tradition and written practice. The reshaping of the contours of metal type, the radical invention of the typewriter, and political script reform movements all affected how languages were written and printed. These debates around script reckoned with both the past, and visions of the future.

In this talk, Karthik Malli explores the ways technology, typography, and politics intersected, and the changes to writing systems that came from these encounters. He explores the case of Malayalam, a language where these tensions brought about far reaching script reforms, in an effort to drastically reduce its complexity for the modern era. This session will be followed with a Q&A with the audience.

In collaboration with:


Karthik Malli

Independent Researcher & Writer

Karthik Malli is a Bangalore-based independent researcher and writer, focusing on the many intersections of Indian languages, writing, script, history, and identity. He has collaborated with Typotheque to trace the typographic evolution of Devanagari and Malayalam. He has written for The Caravan and Fiftytwo.in.

Aadarsh Rajan

Independent Designer

Aadarsh Rajan studies and draws Tamil letters. His current research focuses on understanding Tamil print culture, through the lens of local type-founding and lettering activities. In parallel, he is also interested in what we talk about and how we talk about design, specifically the discourse surrounding notions of knowledge and skill. His master’s thesis considered the work and education of DeskTop Publishing (DTP) operators in Navi Mumbai to reckon with the deliberate exclusionary borders we draw around the profession of ‘Design’.